How to Clean Your Air Fryer Basket [Inc. in a Ninja]

Air fryers are amazing appliances for making some of your favorite foods without so much extra oil. However, they can get dirty, and it's important to know the correct way to clean your air fryer basket. But don't worry! We've done the research to bring you the method you need to know.

Follow these easy steps to clean out your air fryer basket:

  1. Allow the basket to cool until comfortable to touch, but still warm
  2. Soak the basket in warm, soapy water for ten minutes to an hour
  3. Wash the basket with a soft sponge, warm water, and dish soap
  4. Use a wooden skewer to clean out any holes or nooks with stuck-on food when necessary
  5. Rinse the basket off with cool water
  6. Allow the basket to dry on a rack or dish towel

If you have a Ninja air fryer, you can follow these same steps to clean the basket. You can also clean most Ninja air fryer baskets in the dishwasher.

In this article, we'll take a closer look at each step for cleaning your air fryer basket. We'll also see some methods for deep cleaning your basket with baking soda when a routine cleaning can't cut it. And if your heating element has become dirty and smelly, we'll cover how to clean it too! Read on to learn all about it!

Air frying sweet potatoes in an air fryer, How to Clean Your Air Fryer Basket [Inc. in a Ninja]

Step-by-Step

Let's take a closer look at each step to keeping your air fryer basket as clean as the day you bought it:

1. Allow the basket to partially cool

You don't want to try cleaning your air fryer basket right away because it will be too hot to touch. However, you also don't want to allow it to cool all the way, because oil and food bits can become hard and difficult to clean.

For this reason, it's best to allow the air fryer to cool for a few minutes before cleaning. This should get you to the sweet spot between burning hot and stuck-on cold.

2. Soak the basket in warm, soapy water

Now is a great time to soak the basket in warm water with a mild dish detergent. This will help loosen any cooked-on grease or stuck-on food.

If your basket is especially dirty, you may leave it to soak for as long as an hour. This should give plenty of time for the degreasing agents in the dish soap to do their job.

If your basket is still fairly clean, a short soak should be fine. In some cases, you may even be able to skip the soak entirely and just move on to step 3.

3. Hand-wash the basket

Using a soft sponge, warm water, and that same mild dish soap, scrub your basket clean.

Most air fryer baskets have a non-stick coating that can be damaged easily. For this reason, do not use anything too abrasive, like metal utensils or steel wool, to scrub your basket.

If there are any bits you're unable to remove with a sponge, allow the basket to sit longer or use the method in step 4.

4. Use a wooden skewer to clean nooks and holes

Air fryer baskets often have a lot of holes or small nooks that are hard to clean with a sponge. If there is some food or other gunk stuck in these spots, clean it out with a wooden skewer or a toothpick.

Remember not to use any metal to clean your air fryer basket, as you are likely to damage the non-stick coating.

5. Rinse the basket

Once the basket is sufficiently clean, rinse it off with cool water. Make sure you get any remaining soap rinsed off of the basket.

6. Dry the basket

Don't put the basket back in the air fryer until it is dry. You can let the basket air dry on a rack or dish towel, or you can dry it off by hand.

You can see the process for cleaning an air fryer basket, as well as the rest of the air fryer, in this video from Consumer Reports:

Can you clean a Ninja air fryer basket in the dishwasher?

Cleaning air fryer basket

You can use the same handwashing method outlined above for all brands of air fryers, including Ninja. However, many Ninja air fryer baskets can also be cleaned in the dishwasher.

According to Ninja, all of their air fryers include parts that are dishwasher safe. For the Ninja Air Fryer AF100, the basket, crisper plate, and other accessories are safe for the dishwasher.

Similarly, the Ninja 2-Basket Air Fryer AD-DZ Series has dishwasher safe baskets and crisper plates but specifies that no other parts are dishwasher safe.

In all cases, remember that the main unit should never be put in the dishwasher.

How often should you clean your air fryer basket?

You should clean your air fryer basket after every use. Try your best to keep your air fryer basket looking like new.

Any grease that you allow to sit will become ten times harder to clean off later. This is why you'll be doing yourself a favor by making it a habit to clean your air fryer basket as soon as possible after each use.

Of course, we don't live in an ideal world and sometimes you might miss a cleaning. In most cases, you should be able to still clean it with just a longer soak in hot, soapy water. If that doesn't work, you may want to clean your basket with baking soda.

How to clean an air fryer basket with baking soda

Baking soda and other cleaning essentials on a table

If there is still stubborn grease stuck to your air fryer basket after following the cleaning method laid out above, it may be time to turn to a stronger cleaner.

Baking soda is a popular go-to for this kind of deep cleaning. There are several different ways you can make a cleaner with baking soda.

The simplest is just a paste of baking soda and water. Simply mix a tablespoon or two of baking soda with enough water to form a paste. Then scrub this paste onto the problem areas of your air fryer basket with a toothbrush and allow it to sit for 5 to 10 minutes before scrubbing off with a toothbrush and water.

A more powerful cleaner involves combining one part of baking soda, one part of dish soap, and two parts of either hydrogen peroxide or vinegar. Follow the same method as before. Apply the cleaner with a toothbrush, leave it to sit for 5 to 10 minutes, then scrub it off with a toothbrush and water.

Are air fryer baskets non-stick?

Air frying eggs

Virtually all air fryer baskets have a non-stick coating on them. This is great because the coating helps you cook food with less oil without needing to worry about it sticking to the basket.

However, there is no perfect non-stick coating. This means that some grease and food bits will still cling to your basket. If these aren't cleaned off promptly, they will continue to stick more and more, becoming a great difficulty to clean off over time. This is why it's important to clean your air fryer regularly.

The non-stick coating is also the reason why you shouldn't use abrasive materials in your basket. Damaging the coating will not only reduce your basket's non-stick properties; it can also lead to the coating flaking off and contaminating your food.

The non-stick coating is not safe for consumption, so you should replace your basket if the coating has been damaged.

How to clean a smelly air fryer

Inside of an air fryer in need of cleaning

If your air fryer has started to take on a bad odor when it runs, it's definitely time for a cleaning. This can happen even if you've kept your air fryer's basket spotless. The most common reason for a bad smell isn't a dirty basket, but a dirty heating element.

As your air fryer cooks, grease will occasionally splatter in the basket. Some of this grease can get up into the heating element and the area around it. Over time, this grease will build up and get old. This creates an unpleasant odor, especially when the air fryer is running.

To clean the heating element, you'll need to put in just a little bit of elbow grease. Follow these steps:

  1. Unplug your air fryer and allow it to cool completely
  2. Remove the basket and locate the heating element above it
  3. Make a cleaning solution by mixing
    1. One tablespoon of dish soap (such as Dawn)
    2. Two tablespoons of vinegar or hydrogen peroxide
    3. One tablespoon of baking soda
  4. Scrub the cleaner into the metal around the heating element with a toothbrush
  5. Allow the cleaner to sit for 5 to 10 minutes
  6. Wipe out the cleaner and gunk with a damp paper towel
  7. Repeat steps 4 to 6 as many times as necessary
  8. For any stubborn, burnt-on grease that the cleaner can't remove, you can use a steel scouring brush, but only on the metal

Final Thoughts

Air frying sweet potatoes in an air fryer

Now you know more about how to keep your air fryer clean with regular usage. We've also seen how to deep clean the basket with baking soda when the usual method doesn't work. We've also seen how to clean the heating element if your air fryer takes on a less-than-scrumptious aroma.

With this knowledge in hand, you'll be ready to air-fry meal after tasty meal in your sparkling air fryer.

If you found this article helpful, be sure to check out these great posts:

Do You Have to Flip Food in an Air Fryer?

Air Fryer Making Rattling Noise - What Could it Be?

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